On our MA Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice, you will join a diverse and professional community that has a person-centred experiential approach at its heart. As a team, we have a unique blend of practice and academic backgrounds and experience.
On this course, you will:
- learn and develop person-centred experiential therapy
- engage creatively with issues in contemporary society
- choose between two specialist pathways:
- counselling for adults across the lifespan
- counselling for children and young people
- be part of a vibrant counselling and psychotherapy community
- have the chance to join our research clinic
- study in a world-class university within an award-winning sustainable environment
You will benefit from our 50-year tradition of counselling training at the University of Nottingham. Working with leading scholars and practitioners in the field of person-centred experiential counsellor training, you will develop within a growth-oriented experiential learning environment, with access to superb learning resources and leading research.
We strive to create a vibrant student-centred learning community where we learn from each other, and also run a seminar series linked to this course.
On completion of the course you will leave with an internationally recognised counselling qualification, and can go on to become a leader in the field of counselling working in education, schools, health, community, private and public sectors.
This course will equip you with the required number of training hours for individual accreditation with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, as well as preparing you for doctoral studies in counselling and psychotherapy or related areas.
View our frequently asked questions
Academic English preparation and support
If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.
Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent. You could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.
This course provides a seamless experience from beginner to qualified practitioner and is open to graduates of any subject that want to train to as a person-centred experiential counsellor and psychotherapist. Prior experience in counselling and psychotherapy is not required as you will develop the skills you need, however, you should have one year of work/volunteer experience in a helping or supporting role.
Successful applicants will be interviewed and all students will need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before starting their placement.
Applicants who do not have a degree may also be considered, providing that you have a Level 4 Diploma and two years' experience as a counsellor or psychotherapist, or similar experience in a closely related professional role. You will also need to complete a 3,000-word essay.
To ensure your application is considered in time, please note the following dates:
|Mode of study
|Full-time and part-time
Places on the programme are in extremely high demand and early application is advised. Due to the number of applications we receive for this programme, the application deadline often has to be moved forward.
Recognition of Other Learning (ROL)
If you have prior learning or experience at an appropriate level, you may apply for exemption from some of the credit requirements of the course.
The taught element of this course is made up of 180 credits, plus a 60-credit research and dissertation module. It can be completed over two years full-time including dissertation, or four years part-time, plus an eight-month dissertation.
Teaching typically takes place from 1.30-5.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday each week with occasional attendance required at other times including weekends.
You can choose between two specialist pathways:
- Counselling for adults across the lifespan
- Counselling for children and young people
Advancing Professional Practice and Skills
This module advances knowledge and experience of working with more challenging and complex case presentations and issues. Whilst continuing to extend and deepen your self-awareness in preparation for placement you will:
- conceptualise an individual therapeutic positioning in preparation for placement
- gain an understanding of models of supervision, prepare for and make use of supervision
- use clinical case discussion covering issues of self-awareness and relational/interpersonal dynamics
- advance self-awareness through process group activity
- further refine skills development using tape assisted recall methods/IPR
You will develop more advanced skills in therapeutic relating. You will develop greater self-awareness by engaging in a range of activities including process groups, small and large group exercises and counselling skills sessions.
Advancing Person-Centred Experiential Theory
This module will take you further into an examination of advanced theory for person-centred experiential (PCE) psychotherapy and counselling.
The module builds on their existing knowledge of the philosophical underpinnings of the PCE to psychotherapy and counselling taught in Developing Person-Centred Experiential Theory in semester one. This module advances your learning by examining contemporary theoretical developments, evidenced based practices and the issues and influences that have created these changes.
Building on previous learning, you will consider research and theory from applied social and positive psychology and learn how these knowledge bases inform therapeutic practice and personal development in a range of applied contexts. Through experiential learning you will gain a deep understanding of your own values as a therapist and helping professional.
Developing Person-Centred Experiential Theory
This module will provide the foundation of knowledge in the core theories for person-centred experiential (PCE) psychotherapy and counselling.
The module will begin by examining the philosophical underpinnings of PCE psychotherapy and counselling. This will provide the basis for acquiring a critical perspective on theories of the development of self and psychological distress and the development of personal growth.
The sessions are taught through experiential learning activities and the student will gain a deep understanding of the personal meaning of the theory that is to be applied in the psychotherapy and counselling setting.
Developing Professional Practice and Skills
This module introduces you to professional practice related issues. Core aspects for beginning counsellors will be addressed and will include:
- developing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship - understanding the contributions of client and therapist
- an in-depth examination of professional codes of ethics and their application - critical perspectives on systems of accountability
- experiential workshops focused on ethical issues relating to therapeutic confidentiality, time keeping, record keeping, consent, boundaries (for example, use of touch), and working within a safe level of competence
- the development of self-awareness through process group activity
- skills development using tape assisted recall methods/IPR
You will gain skills and understanding in building therapeutic relationships, assess your capacity for working with clients and staying within your competence level. You will develop greater self-awareness by engaging in a range of activities including process groups, small and large group exercises and counselling skills sessions.
Dissertation and Research Methods
This module will provide the foundation of knowledge in the core research methodology and methods for person-centred experiential (PCE) psychotherapy and counselling.
The module will begin by examining the philosophical underpinnings of research and its applicability to psychotherapy and counselling. This will provide the basis for acquiring a critical perspective on research and the development of a dissertation proposal.
You will gain a deep understanding of the range of quantitative and qualitative methods and how they can be applied in the psychotherapy and counselling setting. You will gain the experience of doing a piece of research relevant to counselling and psychotherapy.
Adults across the lifespan pathway
This pathway helps prepare you for working therapeutically with adults across the lifespan in a range of settings across the public and private sectors. You will be equipped with the skills needed to work across the whole adult lifespan including those seeking therapy for severe mental distress or personal growth and development.
Power, Politics and the Socio-Cultural World
This module provides you with the opportunity to immerse yourself in research and theory beyond the confines of the psychotherapeutic literature to learn about issues of power, equality, gender as well as the influences of the social and the cultural world on human behaviour.
Such learning provides you with the ability to think broadly about issues relevant to psychotherapy and how they may be conceptualised from different perspectives.
Children and young people pathway
This pathway is designed to help prepare you for therapeutic work with children and young people in a range of educational settings. This could include schools, colleges and universities, social care or mental health services, or youth and criminal justice settings.
The Lives of Children and Young People: Systems, Contexts and Approaches
The module considers the legal and policy context influencing counsellors' work with children and young people. This includes institutional contexts for the work with a particular focus on education, health and youth services settings. You will reflect on challenges and opportunities involved in reconciling multilayered systems (political, legal, organisational, individual and family) with person-centred experiential philosophy of practice.
You will examine the notion of presence as a professional in support of the child and their family. You will engage in experiential group work activities to develop your awareness, understanding and skills for engagement with key stakeholders, agencies and institutions.
Building on the systemic framework for mapping the social, psychological and emotional development of children and young people, you will look across influencing experiences, including developmental landmarks and events which either help or hinder children and young people flourishing.
You can view an example of the course structure, however this is subject to change year on year and your live timetable will be available via the various online timetable systems.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
Experiential learning methods are assessed by a range of tasks that include written essays, process analysis, case studies, presentations and a portfolio.
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. This includes around £2,500 for attending personal counselling/psychotherapy as part of the training process.
You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles which could cost up to £100.
The school covers the cost of a DBS check. If you choose to take a placement outside of the placement partnership, you may need to consider additional costs for supervision of around £1,600 towards this. Most students do take placement with our partners and therefore do not incur this additional cost.
Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.
Scholarships and bursaries
See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.